The best day excursions from Barcelona

From quaint seaside villages to mountaintop monasteries to paradisiacal beaches, the area around Barcelona just begs to be explored.

While the city could take years to discover, the Mediterranean coastlines and mountains around Barcelona make a perfect getaway from the big-city buzz and are easily reached by public transport. Discover history, art, natural beauty, and tranquility with our top 5 day trips; and check Page 2 for Salvador Dalí´s favourite seaside resort!

5. Montserrat Monastery

Roosting like a seabird 1,236 meters in the mountains, Santa Maria de Montserrat is the most important religious site in Catalonia. Reached by a cable car that offers unmatchable views of the stunning mountainous landscape, the Benedictine monastery is a sight all by itself, with dazzling frescoes, artwork and design.

For the adventurous a vast network of one-of-a-kind hiking trails in the nearby mountains are perfect for a little exercise and breathtaking panoramas of Catalonia.

Insider tip: don’t miss the little museum housed in the monastery, with its exquisite collection of early works by Picasso as well as pieces by Dalí and El Greco.

How to get there: From Plaça d‘Espanya‘s FGC train station it takes about an hour to get to Montserrat. Take the R5 line towards Manresa - one every hour - and stop at either the Aeri de Montserrat stop for the cable car or the Monistrol de Montserrat for the rack train. You can buy a combined ticket at Plaça d‘Espanya for €27,50 that includes the metro, the train, and the cable car and the rack train rides as well as the funiculars in Montserrat and an audiovisual show.

Click here for more information about FGC tickets and schedules
Visit Website - Montserrat Tourism

4. Sitges

Often regarded as a smaller sister of Ibiza, this coastal resort located just 35 km south of Barcelona is a popular tourist destination, but for good reason. The city is full of fascinating architectural and historical sites, but its the 17 sun-soaked beaches that really sets this city apart.

For gourmands, the local dish of “xató” is the perfect way to get the flavour of Sitges. Finish with a glass of local “malvasia” with dessert at one of Sitges’s many delectable restaurants.

Insider tip: Every October the city hosts the prestigious Sitges Film Festival specialized in fantasy and horror movies. Hollywood megastars such as Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas, Quentin Tarantino or David Lynch have attended in recent years.

How to get there: It takes about an hour to get to Sitges from Barcelona. MonBus bus company operates two buses every hour from Ronda Universitat to Sitges with tickets costing just €4. The bus stops at Plaça d‘Espanya and the airport.

Click here for more information about MonBus and schedules
Visit Website - Sitges Tourism

3. Girona

Located 100 km north of Barcelona, this city is ideal for history buffs and architecture aficionados.

The old town is collected around the steep hill and along the river, where the colourful Art Nouveau buildings are a sight all by themselves. Girona’s cathedral is among the most impressive in the world, while the old fortifications that were begun by the Romans are a nice way to climb up high and take in the city skyline.

Insider tip: No visit to Girona is complete without a meal at the prestigious 3 Michelin star restaurant El Celler de Can Roca (Can Sunyer 48, 17007 Girona +34 972 222 157) The menu costs between €145-€175 and the à la carte menu between €94-€130.

How to get there: From Barcelona Sants Renfe station it takes just 37 minutes to get to Girona. You can take the new AVE high speed train departing every 2 hours to Figueres Vilafant or the AVANT train and stop at Girona. If you miss these, you can also hop in the Regional train although the journey lasts well over an hour. Train tickets start from €12,40

Click here for more information about Renfe trains & tickets Visit Website - Girona Tourism +

Continue to page 2 to find out how you can visit the enchanting coastal town where Salvador Dalí spent his summers and inspired many of his works.

2. Cadaqués

This quaint coastal town would be worth the 2 hour drive from Barcelona just for its lovely little harbour and rustic beauty, but its seaside charm has also drawn some of the world’s most famous artists including Dalí, Picasso and Miró, who’ve endowed it with many of their pieces.

These are now on display in the Salvador Dalí House and Museum, while a wander through this sleepy fishing village is a great way to discover the charm that brought these artists.

Insider tip: Stop off at the restaurant, Es Balconet, for a delicious and romantic taste of Catalan cuisine tucked away in a narrow lane.

How to get there: It takes about 2hrs and 45mins to get to Cadaqués from Barcelona Estació del Nord, where the Sarfa Bus company runs 2 buses every day. Bus tickets cost €24,50. Please bear in mind that the timetable is not very flexible but if you miss your bus back to the city you can take a taxi to nearby Llançá or Figueres, where you can get the train back to Barcelona Sants station.

Click here for more information about Sarfa Bus and schedules
Visit Website - Cadaqués guide

1. Tarragona

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient Roman ruins found throughout Tarragona are truly spectacular.

A 2nd century seaside amphitheatre is a particular highlight, standing right next to the sandy beach where you can catch performances and reenactments on occasion.

Another Roman delight is the Pont de les Ferreres, the aqueduct that spans the river four miles outside of town.

Insider tip: The Knights Templar castle of Miravet standing high on the cliff above the river, is considered one of the best examples of Templar construction in the world and worth the short drive.

How to get there:  it takes a little bit over an hour to get to Tarragona by train from Barcelona Sants. There are trains available every hour with tickets starting from €8,40 and times varying considerably if you board a Regional, a Renfe AVANT or an AVE high speed service.

Click here for more information about Renfe trains and schedules
Visit Website - Tarragona tourism

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